The 7 main groups of dog breeds

Die 7 Hauptgruppen der Hunderassen

A quick note before we begin: This article is not scientific, but written from the perspective of a prospective dog owner who is actively exploring what breed of dog might best suit her. The only qualifications that allow me to write this series are my Google skills and my love for dogs.

I plan to adopt a dog by the end of 2021, so I'm spending day and night researching different dog breeds. I am 25 years old and live alone in a 50 square meter apartment in the center of Berlin. I'm not a very active person and I spend most of my time working. Luckily, through my day job as Feniska's COO, I have access to pet-friendly offices.

The supergroups of dog breeds

There are about 190 dog breeds in the world. Therefore, it is impossible to inform me in detail about each of them. To streamline the process, I use the American Kennel Club (AKC) supergroups for dog breeds as a guide. The criteria for the division into the 7 groups consist of the history of the dog breed, the reason for breeding these dog breeds, as well as the functions, tasks and characteristics of the breeds.

This classification has worked best for me for my research and in this 8 part series I will share my findings with you. So you too have a few helpful clues if you're looking for a furry friend too!

1. The Sporting Group (sporting dogs)

Originally bred for hunting, sporting dogs consist of pointers, spaniels, retrievers and setters. Pointers (also called pointers) and setters were bred to use their snouts to point the hunter in the direction of prey. Retrievers were bred to "retrieve" game after hunters had hunted it down. Spaniels were mostly used for hunting birds and smaller animals and were primarily intended to scare them away. None of these dog breeds were used to kill animals, only to assist hunters.

The athletic group is the perfect dog group for people who love the great outdoors and like to be active in their free time. Sporting Group dog breeds are energetic and need at least two hours of exercise a day.

Retriever Dog- Golden Retriever

Spaniel dogs- French Spaniel

Pointer Canine- English Pointer

Setter Canine- The Irish Setter

2. The Hound Dogs Group

Hounds, like sporting dogs, were originally bred for hunting. Hunting dogs were primarily used for tracking and were bred into two main groups: trackers and sighthounds. Tracker hounds hunt primarily with their keen sense of smell, while greyhounds hunt primarily by sight and speed.

Hunting dogs vary greatly in size. For example, while a dachshund weighs between 7 and 15 kg, a greyhound can weigh up to 40 kg.

Beagle Dachshund

Beagle Dogs - Basset Hound

Beagle sniffer dogs

Beagle dogs - Saluki

Beagle Greyhound

3. The working group

Dogs whose breeds belong to the Working Group are considered the “workers” of the canine world. They were bred to help people with their daily lives, such as guarding the home, pulling sleds, and rescuing people. They are intelligent, capable of learning and efficient. In addition, working group dogs can grow very large. They are incredibly strong and often have a constant urge to work that drives them on. This makes working class dogs unsuitable for inexperienced dog owners. Personally, I also believe that working class dogs eat a lot and therefore require a more expensive lifestyle than smaller dogs.

Working dog - Great Dane

Working Dog Doberman

Working Dog Bullmastiff

4. The herding dog group

As the name suggests, these dogs were bred to herd sheep and cattle. Herding dogs work closely with humans, are naturally very intelligent and capable of learning. These dogs are very energetic, so they should always have something to do to keep them busy. They need not only physical but also mental stimulation so that they don't get bored.

Herding Border Collie

Herding dog - German shepherd

Herding Corgi

5. Terrier group

Also terriers were originally bred for hunting (now I wonder if all dogs were bred for some kind of hunting, aren't there berry picking dog breeds?). Terriers had a special job as they were bred to hunt vermin, mice and moles. By the way, the word terrier is derived from the word “terra”, which means earth. These dogs love to dig. However, unlike sporting dogs, terriers have been trained to kill their prey. For this reason, even today, they still do not get along particularly well with small animals. In addition, terriers are usually very aggressive, alert and self-confident.

Terrier dogs - Jack Russell

Terrier Dogs - Scottish Terriers

Terrier Dogs - Boston Terriers

6. Toy group

Toy group dogs are too small to herd animals or pull carts, but they've still managed to do the most important job of all: they're stuffed animals. Toy dogs come in a variety of colors and coats, and were bred specifically to keep their owners company. The best thing about them is that they have so much personality. The true definition of "small but mighty". Due to their small size, Toy Dogs are perfect for people with small apartments and little space. Toy dogs tend to bond with their owners quickly and as a result, they easily develop separation anxiety and protective instincts.

Dwarf Dog Pug

Miniature dogs - Chihuahua

Dwarf dogs - Yorkshire Terriers

7. The non-sporting group

There it is - a hodgepodge of dog breeds. Any breed of dog that does not belong to the other six groups is classified here. When dog breeds were first classified, there were basically only two groups. Sporting dogs and non-sporting dogs. Over the years new categories were created and dogs that fit better into another group were therefore reclassified as well. In short: The non-sporting group includes all dog breeds with characteristics that cannot be integrated into any other supergroup. Here you will find multicultural, diverse dog breeds, each with a different background. Some breeds exhibit such a variety of characteristics that it is almost impossible to generalize based on size, characteristics or role.

Non-sporting dogs - Dalmatians

Non-Sporting Dogs - Bulldog

Non-Sporting Dogs - Poodles

So that was my little overview of the different dog breeds. If you are also curious and want to learn more about the individual groups, read through all the other parts of this series.

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